After hearing about the film ‘Cowspiracy’ which outlines the major impacts of industrialised dairy production on both the environment and the animals themselves, I thought I would rise to the challenge and join in with the Vegan Society’s ‘plate up for the planet’ week. I have to admit to being a bit wary. Thirty years ago, one of my daughters went vegan and our vegetarian family went mostly vegan too. It felt like a sacrifice back then, but this time there are so many more choices for eating delicious food. Last time it meant giving things up. Now it’s more about exploring new foods.
My first vegan challenge was to not automatically reach for cow’s milk for my early morning (5am) tea but use soy milk instead. At lunchtime, for the first time, I explored the amazingly varied food stalls in Lower Marsh, near where I live in London. All seemed to do vegan options and today I chose Venezuelan black bean stew with plantains. Tomorrow perhaps Nigerian? Being vegan feels a far easier and more mainstream choice than I imagined it would be. I’ve had lots of advice from family, friends, and Twitter about what to eat and where to get it, including lots about vegan wines, beers and ciders. In Parliament where I spend my working day, there are often vegan meals, and if not there’s always a salad bar with nuts and seeds to sprinkle over everything.
I would recommend that everyone gives it a go for a week. See if you get a taste for it. It will at least open your eyes to more food options and wonderful tastes.